Definition of tape in US English:



  • 1A narrow strip of material, typically used to hold or fasten something.

    ‘a roll of tape’
    ‘a dirty apron fastened with thin tapes’
    • ‘Wherever paint met tape, and therefore stuck to tape, both tape and paint now came away from the wall, exposing the flowery wallpaper underneath.’
    • ‘Straps, tapes, or hook-and-loop tapes should be fastened around your leg.’
    • ‘After work, the children organized their games, made baseballs from string and tape, and played until dark.’
    • ‘Fasten it there with tape, and then watch it day after day.’
    • ‘The Foley catheter then is secured to the patient's leg with a leg strap or tape.’
    • ‘One year, my sister and I had the brilliant idea to wrap my mom's gift in as much ribbon and tape as was humanly possible to fit on the gift.’
    • ‘Indoors, you may need some tape or thumbtacks to fasten your background to a wall.’
    • ‘With a few turns of tape, I fastened the plastic cup to the end of the pole.’
    • ‘The petals were then placed carefully in their original position, and the calyx was closed and held in place with a narrow strip of cellophane tape.’
    • ‘Applying vertical strips of tape along the shin and sides of the leg from the top of the ankle to the bottom of the knee will add support.’
    • ‘The filters were fastened to the foil-covered lid with opaque tape.’
    • ‘In a subtractive process, strips of tape are progressively removed from the canvas's surface as color is applied in a systematic fashion.’
    • ‘He took hold of the gauze he had placed over the cut in his palm and held it in place while he unrolled several inches of gauze strip and some tape.’
    • ‘The pupils were given cardboard, tape and string and the shelter had to be large enough to hold one person.’
    • ‘He had also wedged three home-made stun grenades, made from TNT, aluminium powder and tape, in his belt.’
    • ‘He uses everyday materials, including coloured tape and glitter to transform spaces and familiar objects.’
    • ‘The idea is to draw a grid on the pants front and back pattern and a create a matching grid on the existing pants using the narrow tape.’
    • ‘Mylar and reflective tape are both materials used by many people nowadays and they are well worth the effort of obtaining for use as inserts or wrapping the neck of a skirt.’
    • ‘Make a square about a meter wide in the center of the mat using chalk, tape or belts.’
    • ‘Use strips of black gaffer's tape along the edges of the negative carrier and enlarger negative stage after the carrier is placed in the enlarger.’
    band, strip, strap, belt, binding, string, ribbon, stripe, braid
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    1. 1.1often with modifier Long narrow flexible material with magnetic properties, used for recording sound, pictures, or computer data.
      • ‘No, it was just an audition that I did on tape and the tape got sent away.’
      • ‘The tape is stretched, it's been played so many times.’
      • ‘He looked from his subject to the plastic window of the cassette recorder where the tape spooled.’
      • ‘Because of the high recording speeds required, they used enormous reels about one metre in diameter, and the thin tape frequently broke, sending jagged lengths of razor steel flying around the studio.’
      • ‘He taught me how to edit tape without marking it with a grease pencil.’
      • ‘The ensemble themselves had recorded many of their songs on tape over the years.’
      • ‘From the 1950s until the end of the 1990s radio programmes were stored on large reels of tape which were kept in bulky boxes.’
      • ‘This process functions much like early computers that used data tape to give yes or no responses.’
      • ‘Do you have the songs on tape or CD for use in the classroom?’
    2. 1.2 A cassette or reel containing recorded material.
      • ‘It was full of old videos - old VHS tapes and even old Betamax cassettes, mainly filled with Sci-Fi shows such as Doctor Who, Star Trek and The Prisoner.’
      • ‘With the Go-Video dual VCR, you insert two tapes and program the VCR to record a TV show.’
      • ‘Reel to reel and DAT tapes were stacked neatly on a table.’
      • ‘The next morning, I put the tape in the cassette deck.’
      • ‘The tapes downsized to cassettes and ultimately CDs.’
      • ‘Each day at midnight I let a tape record for 6 hours, insert a new tape for recording, and repeat twice more.’
      • ‘VHS tapes don't mail well, as they are bulky and oversized.’
      • ‘A mini-DV cassette is of similar dimensions to an audio cassette and about half the size, with tapes priced from around $10 each.’
      • ‘The Washington Post reported that after the meeting officers bought tapes and compact discs of the speech to give to their colleagues.’
      • ‘I ran over to the stereo and pulled the tape out of the cassette deck.’
      • ‘The digital video camcorder records the bytes of digital information onto one of three items, a hard disk, a dv tape, or a DVD.’
      • ‘We bought records, tapes and later CDs to amass a song collection the old-fashioned way.’
      • ‘So I meticulously took spare batteries, spare film for the camera and spare tapes for the mini tape recorder.’
      • ‘It turns out that she didn't send me some of the things that were in the box, such as a VHS tape from a church at Fort Hood, Texas, and some audiocassette tapes.’
      • ‘Previously the shop had depended on the tourist trade to sell CDs and tapes of traditional Irish music and an extensive stock of musical instruments.’
      • ‘I brought along two tape recorders with two fresh tapes.’
      • ‘Vendors are seen hawking large consignments of assorted music tapes and compact discs.’
      • ‘To do this you will need a microphone, a tape recorder or CD recorder, and blank tapes or CDs.’
      • ‘The church is without an organist and the congregation sings along to taped recordings of hymns, which is fine when the right tapes are inserted.’
      • ‘When he landed he was presented with more leaving gifts, including a mini tape-deck and tapes and a huge cake decorated with an aeroplane, made by the school cook and iced by parents.’
      recording, cassette, tape recording
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    3. 1.3 A recording on a cassette or reel.
      • ‘The talking tapes were first produced in the area seven years ago.’
      • ‘Most of the time I would listen to the radio rather than tapes.’
      • ‘Snippets of the original tapes were at last broadcast on BBC Radio Wiltshire and BBC Radio Swindon breakfast shows this morning.’
      • ‘He grinned widely to himself and sang along to the tape in the cassette player.’
      • ‘We got my library out of there, and she got our master tapes and all of our master radio shows.’
      • ‘Well, I never saw a good one, although I did have one experience where someone put a radio tape on of an interview that was allegedly me.’
      • ‘Here is a tape of a live radio broadcast some years ago.’
      • ‘This feature is perfect for customers who want to easily transfer their valuable video archives from VHS tapes to the DVD medium.’
      • ‘The Busytown tapes fail to establish a conceptually coherent paradigm, however, and that bothers me.’
      • ‘I'd love to hear a tape of the radio show to verify this.’
      • ‘He hadn't noticed before that the tape in the cassette player had come to an end and the cab was almost fittingly silent.’
      • ‘I got the studio where it was recorded to remaster the tapes and put a limited run onto CD.’
      • ‘All interviews were tape recorded and the tapes were transcribed and translated into English as needed.’
      • ‘So in order to save time and effort, you can copy the tapes to a DVD without the use of a computer.’
      • ‘‘We went to the radio and recorded a tape,’ says Shabalala.’
      • ‘The radio broadcasts could be looped tapes talking about an historic monument.’
      • ‘When I listened to the Carson tapes, I heard someone talking to the already convinced.’
      • ‘We were trawling through surveillance tapes when the call over the radio said they had been picked up outside.’
      • ‘DVD recorders offer higher quality pictures than video cassette recorders, and the discs take up less storage space and are easier to search through than tapes.’
      • ‘The president of WNYC Radio, said the decision to air the Georgia tapes was "not something we decided to do lightly".’
    4. 1.4 A strip of paper or plastic coated with adhesive, used to stick things together.
      • ‘He, however, did not explain fragments found at the scene, including pieces of plastic and insulation tape, which were part of the debris from the package.’
      • ‘Peeling back the tape reveals a wad of four layers of pieces of tire tread taped together with black electrical tape.’
      • ‘Five leaves per plant were removed from the first and second whorls and carefully stuck to filter paper with a small strip of double-sided adhesive tape.’
      • ‘At last, after what seemed to be 20 minutes, the paper was stuck together with tape and I could actually read it.’
      • ‘The old battery was attached to the hard drive with a couple of strips of padded, double-sided tape.’
      • ‘She found a pair of scissors and attacked plain brown paper sealed with transparent tape.’
      • ‘Others had cracked windscreens held together by tape.’
      • ‘For those not familiar with the TUFO tape, it is double-sided tape with a plastic strip covering each sticky side.’
      • ‘If you just want to redo the ceilings, add some brown masking paper and painter's tape to your shopping list.’
      • ‘It took at least fifteen minutes to open and all the time he was pulling and tearing with useless fingers at the layers of tape and glossy paper, she was watching him.’
      • ‘You could cut the tapes and join them back together with cello tape.’
      • ‘Fix two strips of double sided tape lengthwise on the back of the black card.’
      • ‘For scanning electron microscopy, dry seeds were mounted directly on stubs using double-sided adhesive tape and coated with gold/palladium in a sputter coater.’
      • ‘The removals company dropped off the boxes, packing tape and paper last night - 50 boxes, all told.’
      • ‘The court heard yesterday how activists had blown up a lorry parked at the Oxfordshire meat plant using a home-made bomb, constructed from a firework, a block of wood and plastic tape.’
      • ‘The criminals slot cardboard or plastic devices into the machine and stick double-sided tape to the card slot.’
      • ‘Stick the tabs of four circles together with double-stick tape to form the box's sides.’
      • ‘The poor old thing was purchased new, and now has a rather worn binding and some book tape holding it together.’
      • ‘If there are any leaks, fill the hole or crack with plastic solvent cement and wrap it with plastic electrical tape.’
      • ‘First she took off the ribbon, and then gingerly ripped off the tape holding the paper together.’
      adhesive tape, sticky tape, insulating tape, masking tape, parcel tape
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    5. 1.5 A strip of material stretched across the finish line of a race, to be broken by the winner.
      • ‘In three ‘A’ Finals I have finished fourth, fallen off twice and touched the tapes in a semi-final.’
      • ‘If they survived that, and the ceremony, the newlyweds were required to hold the winning tape for a race among villagers along the main street.’
      • ‘As the race nears the tape they are both on their feet, hollering.’
      • ‘Safety measures were taken during the protest with a cordon put around the children, in the shape of a ribbon which had been used during the school's sports day as a finishing tape.’
      • ‘The American athlete, known for her bullet starts got off to a flyer but a competitor ran her down and caught her at the tape.’
      • ‘She went into high gear in the last few meters on Friday to win the women's marathon, while Allan Ballester of the Philippines crossed the men's tape.’
      finishing line, finishing post, end point
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    6. 1.6 A strip of white material at the top of a tennis net.
      • ‘A shot by Serena slapped the net tape and went over, Venus got to the ball and responded with a drop shot that Serena whipped for a backhand passing winner down the line.’
      • ‘When you are finished adjusting the net's tension, there should be no room between the net tape and the securing post.’
    7. 1.7 A strip of material used to mark off an area.
      • ‘Blue and white tape sealed off a 75-yard area of Roundhay Road leading to the junction with Harehills Lane.’
      • ‘In his address he complimented the huge turnout and afterwards he and the priest cut the tape to set the walkers on their way.’
      • ‘There were already a dozen or so officers gathered around the warehouse, and most of the area had been cordoned off with tape.’
      • ‘Initially the death was treated as suspicious with detectives sealing off the area with tape after finding a rear kitchen window forced.’
      • ‘A car accident on the road leading to Tarn Hows earlier this month led to police placing an accident notice, four bollards and highly-visible blue and white police tape.’
      • ‘He was excluded for touching the tapes, but Smith took his place and followed another team-mate home for full points.’
      • ‘Eventually we too were moved on, asked to stand behind the white and blue tape and observe proceedings at a safe distance.’
      • ‘He continued down the hall to find a room marked off with yellow tape.’
      • ‘I could see the yellow police tape inside marking out the space where the jumper had landed, somewhere near the middle of the lobby.’
      • ‘The yellow crime scene tape sealed off the area at the scene where the mother of three lost her life.’
      • ‘Forensic teams sealed off the area with tape and scoured the street for clues as uniformed officers carried out door-to-door inquiries.’
      • ‘The police were up there and they taped off sections, looping their dramatic blue and white tape between the trees.’
      • ‘The strikers were kept away from the tall iron gates of parliament by a line of barrier tape, backed by a double row of police with plastic riot shields and more police inside the gates.’
      • ‘Just minutes before there had been a buzz of uncertainty as people watched police officers cordoning off yet more streets in an area already divided every few yards by blue and white tape.’
      • ‘Slowly, they gathered at a boundary line marked with yellow tape.’
      • ‘There was no blue and white tape, no forensic team.’
      • ‘Under pressure from animal rights activists seeking to disrupt the race he raised the tape, but a technical failure led to a clear false start.’
      • ‘The police tape is taken away and he rushes past into the building explaining to an officer that he lives there.’
      • ‘On the path a few solitary scraps of withered white and blue police tape were a solemn reminder of the crime scene.’
      • ‘Police sealed off the area with tape following the attack, which happened just before 10 pm on Saturday.’
    8. 1.8 A tape measure.
      • ‘Measure the distance with a tape.’
      • ‘The joint is next measured with a tape, snugly passing round the foot.’
      • ‘Using the clinometer, the spot on the trunk that is at eye level is identified and the distance from the eye to the level point on the trunk is measured with a tape or laser rangefinder.’


[with object]
  • 1Record (sound or pictures) on audio or videotape.

    ‘it is not known who taped the conversation’
    • ‘I also learned it doesn't pay to tape over old videos.’
    • ‘Also taken was a DVD recorder, which tapes the ultra sound scan.’
    • ‘One tape had been taped over prior to being requested for by the FBI.’
    • ‘Get one person with a video camera and tape yourselves skating, don't drop the camera though!’
    • ‘We do this everyday, when, for example, we copy files in a computer or we tape a conversation.’
    • ‘There's a half decent line up on the TV tomorrow night, with so much on we're going to have to dust the cobwebs off the video recorder to tape Doctor Who.’
    • ‘Tavernas were full to bursting and taped or real Greek Music added its own charm to the scene.’
    • ‘Secondly, I'm sorry that I took notes on the fly this week, rather than tape it all and watch it in one hit while typing.’
    • ‘Last chance to see before he decamps to New York; this show is being taped for a Christmas DVD.’
    • ‘Only then did I realize that the cameras were taping her, and then they started taping me.’
    • ‘Those receiving the call are played a short message informing them that their conversation is being taped.’
    • ‘To prove it he told me he had taped all these conversations and promised to send them to me.’
    • ‘But again, they weren't seeking to tape or intercept a conversation from you or from him specifically.’
    • ‘We went out to dine last night, so I set the video to tape Maria Callas: Living and Dying for Art and Love.’
    • ‘Will the movies stick around forever on the box, or can I tape them legally to a VCR or recordable DVD?’
    • ‘The suggestion has been made that it may have been the right tape but had been taped over.’
    • ‘He demands quiet in the house while he tapes all his LPs with his new tape recorder.’
    • ‘Enron traders taped all their business conversations to keep a record of daily transactions.’
    • ‘Use a video recorder to tape programs or show rented movies.’
    • ‘Thirteen episodes have been taped so far, and the ratings bode well for a second season.’
    record, make a recording of, tape-record, video-record, video, put on cassette, put on tape, put on video
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  • 2Fasten or attach (something) with adhesive tape.

    • ‘Since he didn't own a scanner, he'd tape photographs on the wall and use his Sony video camera to take snapshots of them.’
    • ‘He glanced down at the picture of him and Joey that was taped to the dashboard.’
    • ‘Hurrying back inside, he wrote his phone number on a sticky note and taped it to the fridge.’
    • ‘A single daisy was taped to my locker with a yellow note tied to it by some white ribbon.’
    • ‘We found him taping pictures to every classroom door on the first floor.’
    • ‘Five minutes later she is kneeling in front of him, taping a gauze pad over his elbow, when a note whisks under the door.’
    • ‘We are waiting for the guys to come and finish off the room: taping the joints and sealing the plasterboard.’
    • ‘I walked over to her desk to look at the pictures she had taped above it of her while she closed the door again and went back over to sit on the bed.’
    • ‘She puts her bag down in its old place at the foot of her old bunk, and looks thoughtfully at a series of pictures taped to the head of her bunk.’
    • ‘Half an hour later we were taping pictures, leaving room for the essay we were suppose to write, on our project board.’
    • ‘She takes a photograph of him from an envelope in her purse, and I tape the picture next to the others on the wall, in history.’
    • ‘A roadie ran on with another mic so then I was holding two mics taped together and I wasn't really sure which one to sing into.’
    • ‘If I wanted, I could write my name and phone number on a piece of paper and tape the paper to the inside cover, but this seems too much.’
    • ‘He got his parents to tape him in, you know that gaffer tape they use, that thick tape, to tape him onto the bike, because his balance was still a bit wobbly.’
    • ‘One of her hand reached the bottom of the flowerpot and felt something was taped to the bottom.’
    • ‘When you have the gift wrap it up and tape the note from the tree on it and leave it back in the Church under the tree.’
    • ‘He scribbled a quick note to Noah adding a thank you to Dinah and taped it to the door.’
    • ‘When we were first married, I would tape them to the fridge door on scraps torn out of a spiral bound notebook.’
    • ‘I walked up to my door and saw all of my anime pictures that I had taped to it.’
    • ‘I took the note and taped it on my mirror to read every day because it was from my grandfather.’
    bind, tie, strap, fasten, stick, seal, secure, fix, join, attach, tether
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    1. 2.1tape something off Seal or mark off an area or thing with tape.
      • ‘He got home however and was very curious why his house was taped off by police, three cars were there and he sprinted down his street.’
      • ‘Police taped the road off while a forensic team was brought in and a cordon remained in place until Friday morning.’
      • ‘Unplug the drier, open up the console area, disconnect the wires to the buzzer, and tape them off.’
      • ‘The parking lot around the building was taped off.’
      • ‘What saddens me, is that half the arena is taped off, all on the side you don't see on TV.’
      • ‘The car park's entrance and exit roads were taped off, with motorists who wanted to use it being asked to go elsewhere.’
      • ‘The streets were taped off and put under police guard, and white-suited forensic experts moved in.’
      • ‘I went out later and saw that the area had been taped off by police.’
      • ‘Yesterday, the house was taped off as forensic officers carried out a fingertip search.’
      • ‘There's that obnoxious colored yellow tape around their backyard, all over, taping it off.’
      cordon, seal, close, shut, mark, fence
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  • on tape

    • Recorded on magnetic tape.

      • ‘Funnier still it's all on tape as we were recording the rehearsal.’
      • ‘For example, a patient may be asked to record their worst fears on tape and listen to them repeatedly until their effect is lessened.’
      • ‘Finally, after a week of storytelling, going back and forth, we were ready to set it all on tape.’
      • ‘In hiding in Argentina in the mid 1950s, Eichmann recorded on tape his recollections of these final days.’
      • ‘Historians and anthropologists have recorded many of these men's stories on tape.’
      • ‘We later find out that nothing but our own voices are recorded on tape.’
      • ‘The author tells us that she recorded these tales on tape in the evenings after the day's labour when people would gather to chat.’
      • ‘There was no conscious decision to make the record sound old, though I did record it on tape at a studio that has a lot of old gear.’
      • ‘What's more, you can rewind and fast-forward as if they had all be recorded on tape.’
      • ‘The riskiest anthology I ever made was a selection of poems about death that I recorded on tape for a kinswoman who was dying.’


Old English tæppa, tæppe; perhaps related to Middle Low German teppen ‘pluck, tear’.